Saturday, June 16, 2012

Honoring the Seasons in ACEO Cards

This little series began by using the last tiny blooms of some flowers that dear friends gave to me to make prints as a reminder of their visit.  For a look at the individual cards, click on my ACEO page/  Spring came to life with the flowers as print making devices and then came Summer, Fall and Winter.  After all, Spring has already sprung as we approach the red hot days of Summer and then come the beautiful browns and oranges of Fall and finally the year is rounded out with only a few leaves clinging to barren tree branches  And then,  joy of joys, we start  all over again with eager anticipation of a new year and new seasons to spark our imaginations.

Dying Fabric with Sharpie Pens and Alcohol

I have previously drawn onto fabric with Sharpie pens and found the color to be quite durable; however I was never exactly happy with the lines bleeding, no matter how light a hand was used in applying the ink.

This morning I ran across a few on-line video clips wherein people sprayed Sharpie ink drawn images with rubbing alcohol and took advantage of the bleeding.

As chance would have it, there was a 12" square of white muslin sitting on my worktable and it was just begging to be used.

Design elements drawn onto fabric with Sharpie markers
and then sprayed with rubbing alcohol
The extracted element at the top right consisted of the first pen
markings.  Even though I didn't like the result of that area, I
continued to make repetitive floral markings.

After the alcohol sprayed Sharpie ink was dry, the
petal shapes were loosely outlined with black pigment ink to
add dimension.
When using this process, it is important to first lay the fabric on a waterproof surface.  At first I laid the fabric on paper towels and this was a mistake.  The colors ran beautifully onto the paper towels but not onto the fabric.  When I  repeated the process with the  fabric laying on a piece of glass (the shiny side of freezer paper would work just as well), then the colors blended on the fabric  and produced a more painterly look.

These are the times I wish I had not approached the experiment with reckless abandon and just started laying down pen lines.  I really like 3/4 of the piece but that upper right hand corner ruins the whole thing--at least  according to my sensibilities.  Ah, but there is always a next time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Deconstructed Screen Printing

Toward the end of May, my talented, artist friend, Mia Bloom, paid me a visit for a few days so that we could try our hand with deconstructed screen printing in my studio.  She brought along the Kerr Grabowski  DVD that she had purchased.  If anyone is interested in learning this method of screen printing check out Deconstructed Screen Printing for Fabric and Paper.  I highly recommend it.  Not only is Kerr a great teacher but she has an endearing personality that comes across in no uncertain terms.  It's as if she is in the studio with you!

Mia and I set about making printing boards from 2" insulation board according to Kerr's directions.  The 4'x8' insulation boards from Lowe's wouldn't fit in my car so I first had to come up with some sort of transportation mode.  Here's a picture of a carrier contraption that I made out of PVC pipes, water noodles and lengths of nylon cinching straps.  I might have looked a bit funny driving down the road with neon orange water noodles strapped to the top of my car but the unit worked like a dream.
Here's my contraption that I call a Car Carry All
Much to the doubt of onlookers in Lowe's parking lot,
my Carry All worked just fine.
Because the sheet was huge Mia and I were able to get a few, big printing boards out of it that look like this:
Completed printing board
Here's an idea of the printing board's great size
We continued to revisit Kerr's video instructions on mixing thickened dye with sodium alginate, the importance of the use of soda ash, and how to mix urea water into the sodium alginate.  All this was quite foreign to me, but, by George, we were making progress.  We captured some great pictures of Mia's screens and I'm sure that you will soon be able to see them on her blog.  Images of my prepared screens are not as good as Mia's but at least they show the screens and some of the supplies we used.
Painting onto the screen with thickened dye
Because we did not have fiber reactive dyes, we used Rit Dye.
We both believe that the final colors would be much more
vibrant if we could have use fiber reactive dyes. 
One screen painted with thickened dye and another waiting
to be done.
Waiting for the screens to dry has to be the most  difficult part  of this method.  Thank goodness we had two hair dryers to hasten the process.

Here are some pictures of my final screen prints after the were thoroughly dry and after the thickened dye had been washed out of the fabric.
Final printing of 3 screened series
The picture above represents completed prints from 3 different screens.  The top row resulted from the first screen (shown above).  The middle row is from a second screen.  The bottom row resulted from a screen prepared with Elmer's School Glue and printed with thickened dye, not from the deconstructed process.

This process can easily become addictive and I'm sure there will be more projects like this coming out of my studio.  Remember, give some thought to purchasing Kerr Grabowski's DVD and be sure to check out Mia Bloom's blog in the next few days.  Her printings were absolutely  magnificent.